Exotic Foods In The Philippines
If it moves, it must be good.
Filipinos are infamous around the world for three things: Imelda's gigantic shoe collection, a natural talent for singing, and their appetite for a steaming duck embryo treat called balut. In fact, the reality TV show Fear Factor frequently dares its thrill-seeking contestants to eat this famed Filipino delicacy. Of course, to many Filipinos there is nothing daring about eating balut. especially not when balut is so easily surpassed by many more exotic delicacies you may encounter as you travel through the archipelago - tha range of crunchy, slimy or otherwise unorthodox textures that ooze with bursts of flavor. With stomachs of steel and a hearty appetite for both food and adventure, the rural Filipino sees all animals, no matter how frightening, as opportunities to create a delicious bite, whether it's a meal, a snack, or even just an appetizer to go with their beer and gin. We have no qualms about swatting, cooking, and eating pretty much anything that moves: beetles, phytons, locusts, bats, field rats, sea urchins, frogs and so much more. Which is why in the Filipino kitchen, nothing is ever wasted. Every bit of the animal is used. A pig, for example, offers a cook more possibilities beyond pork chops. Its blood, ears, intestines, cheeks, and tail are used as a matter of course - literally - for various specialty Filipino dishes. This creativity and resourcefulness in cooking and consuming the exotic is motivated by hunger and survival as well as the enjoyment and thrill of eating the unusual. That said, here are the Philippines' most exotic Filipino fare.
Balut (Boiled Duck's Egg)
The notorious boiled fertilized duck's egg is what the town of Pateros and neighboring towns of Rizal in Metro Manila is famous for. It takes 28 days to hatch a Duck's egg and producing this one of a kind egg, a perfect balut is boiled at 17 days, when the chick is still wrapped in white and showing no beak or feathers.
There is an art to eating balut. First, make sure it's hot. Hold up the egg and determine the wider end and lightly tapping it here to break off a piece of eggshell and then taking a sip to savor the balut's tasty broth - you may want to salt it before doing so. Once all the soup has been sipped, crack the rest of the egg, peel it open and sprinkle it with rock salt. The yolk is firm yet tender and the chick should go down smooth and sweet.
Said to be an aphrodisiac, balut is traditionally sold by vendors who do their rounds on the streets peddling the eggs in baskets in the evening, bellowing, "Baluuuuuuuut!" The menfolk like to gather at street corner sari-sari stores with their bottles of beer or gin and balut as pulutan (bar chow), spending many a happy happy hour.
It Is woodworm found in driftwoods and is common in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Davao provinces. Tamilok is not for the squeamish nor the faint of heart. The experience of eating it is more risque than eating sushi. Forget raw, these worms are eaten alive! The driftwood is chopped so you are able to extract pink juicy worms measuring six to eight inches long. The worms are then washed then dropped onto the tounge. Fans love the clean taste and the tingling sensation through the digestive tract.
Kamaro (Mole Crickets)
Is a mole cricket that burrows in the moist soil of growing rice fields of Pampanga. These mole crickets are the most delicious pulutan in Pampanga, a foodie province known for delicious dishes, the country's best cooks and most discriminating gourmands. The kamaro catchers stomp their bare feet on the soil to make the crickets surface, causing them to jump and fly awkwardly, making them easy to catch. cooking them is even more laborious. The cricket's legs and wings must be removed, after which the body is boiled in vinegar and garlic. It is then sauteed in oil, chopped oinion and tomatoes until they are chocolate brown in color. Kamaro is a party in your mouth with every bite: the initial crunch gives way to a moist interior, making it a perfect pairing with ice-cold beer. Without the wings and legs, there is no scratchy texture.
Sinarapan (The World's Smallest Fish)
The Sinarapan is the world's smallest fish and can be found in Lake Buhi, Camarines Sur. At a mere six to eight millimeters when fully grown, the sinarapan is definitely the world's smallest edible fish. These diminutive creatures are endemic to this lake, and swim in massive schools of 100,000 to 500,000 fish. Their minute bodies are transparent so only their black eyes are visible. To give you a clearer idea of how small they are, just imagine that a tablespoon holds over a thousand of them! The best time to catch sinarapan is two hours before dawn or at three or four in the afternoon. These fish are said to be an aphrodisiac when eaten raw with salt and a few squeezes of lime juice. It is quite amusing as its name seems to come from the root word, sarap, which means "delicious" in Filipino - a word that is used to describe both food and sex. Sinarapan are usually added to an omelet for breakfast or cooked Bicolano (is what the locals are called in the province of Bicol) style with coconut milk, vegetables and chili. Unfortunately, they may soon become extinct due to over-fishing.
A fruit bat that feeds on over-ripe lanzones, jackfruit, durian and other tree fruit. The Philippines has over 50 species of fruit bats found throughout the country, including Subic, the Samal Caves in Davao and San Juan, Batangas. Batman, beware! Nothing is spared of the fruit bat once it's been caught. To prepare it for cooking, the entire bat is skinned, and the two glands found at the base of its limbs are removed. It is then chopped into bite-sized pieces, sauteed in oil, garlic, vinegar, tomatoes, pepper, laurel leaves and simmered until the broth has almost dried out. Although some Filipinos consider these fruit bats a delicacy, eating them must be stopped since many bat species are close to becoming endangered. These fruit bats play an important role as they help to maintain the biodiversity of the Philippines' ecological system by propagating fruit-bearing trees.
Known as the caviar of Ilocos' wealthy set, they are found on the branches of certain mango trees where these ants make their homes. You need an expert who can detect them from under the trees branches. Gathering them requires a light hand and fleet feet as the sound of foot steps makes these ants hide their eggs. Flat baskets are attached under the branches and the tree is shaken vigorously until the eggs fall into the baskets. These are fried in butter. the result: A crisp shell on th outside and creamy filling on the inside.
Betute Tugak (Stuffed Frog)
Farmers in Pampanga used to depend on rain water to irrigater their farms. Children would then catch the frogs, which came out during the rainy season, while their parents cultivated the land or planted rice. Outwitting the frogs has been a traditional "family bonding" ritual. Betute is a play of words on butete, which means "tadpole" in the local dialect. Betute is the entire frog stuffed with minced pork - so it looks like a very fat frog. It is then deep-fried in oil.
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